According to the latest study, published in the renowned journal Lancet, about 97 million underweight children lived in India in 2016. New findings reveal that, last year, India had the highest population of "moderate-to-severely" underweight children and young adults aged between 5-to-19 years in the past four decades. However, there was a decline in the number of underweight children from 24.4 per cent of girls and 39.3 per cent of boys in 1975 to 22.7 per cent and 30.7 per cent in 2016 respectively.
For the study, the team analysed weight and height measurements from nearly 130 million people aged over 5 (31.5 million people aged five to 19, and 97.4 million aged 20 and older) from 1975 to 2016. An estimated 192 million children were found to be moderately or severely underweight worldwide in 2016. Being underweight has been associated with a higher risk of infectious diseases.
Researchers suggest that making healthy, nutritious food more available at home and school and creating regulations and taxes to protect children from unhealthy foods can help in dealing with this situation. While talking about food and a nutritious diet, it is important to know about the nutrients that a child needs that most. Here are five essential nutrients that should be a part of their daily diet.
1. Proteins: Proteins are the essential building blocks that help strengthen cells, break down food into energy, fight infection, and transport oxygen. Milk, eggs, soy, quinoa, buckwheat and chia seeds are some great sources of good quality complete proteins.
2. Carbohydrates: They are the most important source of energy for the body. They help your child use up the fat and protein for building and repairing body tissues. Add more complex carbs in their diet in the form of whole grains, fruits like bananas, starchy vegetables and dairy products.
3. Calcium: This mineral is essential for strengthening their bones and teeth during the growing phase. Of course, milk is the best way to get their daily dose of calcium but you can try some other foods too like ragi, chia seeds, green leafy vegetables, almonds and chickpeas.
4. Iron: Iron helps in building blood that carries oxygen required by every cell in the body. It energizes your child from within and keeps him active. Fruits like pomegranate, apple, oranges, and peach are good sources of iron which your kids will like.
5. Vitamin C: Vitamin C not only helps in building your child's immunity and keeping infections away but it also heals internal wounds, builds bones and promotes blood flow. Broccoli, tomatoes, mangoes, lemon, oranges and bell peppers contain high amounts of Vitamin C.
Making your children understand the important of a balanced diet can really help them in the long and keep them hale and hearty.